With a few tips and tricks, you can make a crispy baked eggplant Parmesan so delicious you will prefer it to chicken! This method is healthier than frying, although the layers of crispy Panko, melty mozzarella, and savory tomato sauce really makes it feel like a cheat meal!
This cheesy eggplant Parmesan is unforgettable!
Italian nights are fun for the whole family. Cheese, basil, marinara sauce…I know my family loves it all!
When you’ve reached the end of your pizza and pasta tolerance for the month, baked eggplant Parmesan is a great recipe to have on standby. It contains all the classics with the added nutritional boost of eggplant.
Crispy, Panko-breaded eggplant slices layered with mozzarella, Parmesan, and tomato sauce are baked for 45 minutes, blending the flavors until you have one cheesy, amazing, mess. As with much Italian food, it’s simple but spectacular.
You’ve been forewarned. Don’t wear white, and have plenty of napkins handy! You’re going to need them.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Great Leftovers! Eat them plain or turn them into an eggplant Parmesan sub!
Traditional Italian Flavors! Tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan with a bit of basil make my mouth water just thinking about them!
It Makes A Lot! You’ll get 8 hearty servings out of this recipe, and it’s not hard to double.
No big surprises here. Make sure to use both mozzarella and Parmesan for the most delicious results, and buy the freshest ingredients you can find.
- 3 medium Eggplants - Peel and slice these into ¼-inch thick strips or rounds.
- Seasoning - For this, you’ll need 1 ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour - Flour helps create the crust on the eggplant. Alternative flours will also do well here.
- 2 large Eggs - Bring these to room temperature and beat well before using.
- 3 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs - Alternatively, regular breadcrumbs will do, but panko is crunchier.
- 4 cups Marinara Sauce - You can also use spaghetti sauce or arrabbiata sauce.
- 8 ounces Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese - Grate this up and divide it into 3 portions.
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese - This should also be grated and divided into 3 portions.
- ½ teaspoon Dried Basil - If using fresh, chop 1 ½ teaspoons.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
For this recipe, you’ll need a baking sheet, a 9x13-inch baking dish, and a grater set. There are several steps to this, but none of them are complicated.
- Prepare the eggplants. To begin, peel 3 medium eggplants and slice them. Next, place them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet, or work surface. Then, sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the top and let them sit for an hour. They will expel excess liquid, creating a crispier slice when breaded and baked.
- Preheat the oven. Set your oven to 400℉ (205℃). While it heats up, prepare 2 large baking sheets. Either line them with parchment paper or lightly coat them with nonstick cooking spray.
- Set up your dredging station. Next, prepare to bread your eggplant. You’ll need 3 shallow dishes. In the first, mix 1 cup all-purpose flour and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. In the second, beat 2 large eggs. And in the third, add 3 cups finely ground Italian-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs. *Grind breadcrumbs in a food processor to get a fine consistency, if needed.
- Bread your eggplant slices. Dip each slice of eggplant in each of the three bowls in the following order, coating thoroughly in each: flour, egg, breadcrumbs. As soon as each slice is covered, transfer it to one of the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake. Put the breaded eggplant slices in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip the breaded eggplant slices halfway through to make sure they crisp evenly. They should turn golden brown.
- Fill the baking dish. Spread about ¼ cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish. It should just cover it. Then, place the breaded eggplant slice in a single layer on top, covering it with 1 of the 3 portions of 8 ounces mozzarella and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat the sauce-eggplant-cheese order for 3 more layers. Then, sprinkle ½ teaspoon dried basil over the assembled dish.
- Bake and serve. Put the baking dish in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. It’s done when the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Salt your eggplant. It’s not necessary to peel your eggplants unless you want to. You should, however, follow instructions for salting them. Removing excess moisture gives you better results in regards to the texture of the finished dish!
- Double salt! If during the salting process your eggplants are releasing a ton of moisture, wipe them off, and start again.
- Add more Parmesan. For even more flavor, add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese to the Panko and pulse in your food processor before coating.
- Let it rest. Before serving, let your cooked eggplant parmesan set for 30 minutes. The flavors will meld together for even more amazing results and your layers will slice beautifully!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Cooled baked eggplant Parmesan can be kept for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
You can freeze leftovers as well, but reheating them will cause changes to the texture of the dish. Wrapped tightly in foil or added to a freezer bag or airtight container, they will be good for 3 to 4 months.
You can also freeze the assembled dish before baking if you just want to have something ready to go for a weeknight.
Place frozen leftovers out to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheating Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Then, place them in a foil-covered baking dish and cook at 400℉ (205℃) until hot. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking to crisp up the top.
🍝 More Italian Dishes!
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Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 3 medium eggplant (peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick strips or rounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature, beaten)
- 3 cups Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 cups marinara sauce (or spaghetti sauce, or arrabbiata sauce)
- 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded - divided, 3 portions)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated - divided, 3 portions)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Slice the peeled eggplant and arrange your slices in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet or working surface. Sprinkle with salt and allow to set for an hour while releasing the excess liquid from the sliced eggplant.3 medium eggplant, 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- Setup your dredging station: In 3 dishes that are shallow enough for easy dipping, combine these ingredients. 1) all-purpose flour with salt and pepper, 2) beaten eggs, and 3) finely ground Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs. *Use a food processor to get a nice, fine consistency on the breadcrumbs.2 large eggs, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper, 3 cups Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
- Dip your eggplant slices in the flour first, then the beaten egg, and finally in the finely ground Panko breadcrumbs and transfer them onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until nicely crisped and golden brown. Make sure to flip the eggplant slices half way through the cooking time to get nice, even crisping.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and spread enough marinara sauce (no more than ¼ cup) to cover the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of the baked eggplant then top it with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, repeat the sauce and layer on the eggplant and cheeses again for 3 layers. Sprinkle dried basil over the assembled dish.4 cups marinara sauce, 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- Peeling your eggplant is optional, but do take the time to salt and remove excess moisture for the best texture in your eggplant parm!
- If your eggplant seems like it's kicking out alot of moisture, wipe it clean and sprinkle with salt again.
- Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan to the Panko breadcrumbs and pulse in your food processor to a fine consistency for the very best breadcrumb coating.
- Allow your baked eggplant parmesan to set for 30 minutes before serving for best results.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!